Plant Flowers Rich in Nectar & Pollen

Planting flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen is a great way to make your yard bee-friendly. You will find below are few plants that grow in California and are very popular among the bees.


Idea for teachers: Start a planting project!
Get some seeds, gardening pots and soil. Plant the seeds and start an observation sheet to measure the growth of the plants, create a watering schedule etc… At the end, the students can bring the pot back to their home and an additional packet of seeds to recreate their experience at home, in another pot or in their yard.


Native California plants for the winter:



arctostaphylos manzanita








These two sun-loving shrubs come in a variety of forms, from groundcovers to subshrubs to large shrubs and tree-like forms. Manzanitas burst into bloom in the winter, while ceanothuses bloom around March. The flowers are decorative as well as a rich nectar and pollen source.

Wildflowers for Spring:

california poppy

California Poppy

Mentzelia lindleyi

Blazing Star

Tansy-leaved Phacelia

Tansy-leaved Phacelia

Gilia capitata

Globe Gilia

Collinsia heterophylla

Chinese House








Note: The Tansy-leaved Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) is one of the best source of pollen and nectar for several spring bee species, and the pollen is purple!

Plant the Chinese Houses in shade or partial-shade.



For late spring:

Clarkia unguiculata

Elegant Clarkia

Heteromeles arbutifolia


Monardella villosa

Coyote Mint


Note: Plant the Elegant Clarkia in 1-2 meter diameter patches for best attraction.




The star among summer-flowering native plants are the buckwheat:

california red buckwheat

Red Buckwheat

california buckwheat

California Buckwheat


Note: The California Buckwheat is especially attractive to bees and other pollinators, and easy to grow whereas the Red Buckwheat is smaller, more delicate, and appealing.




Many plants from the sunflower family bloom in summer:

The Gumplant, California Aster and Lessingia. Other varieties such as Elegant Madia is a delightful, fragrant annual whose flowers open in late afternoon and close by 10am. And finally, the California Sunflower grows well in full sun with some summer moisture.


Tips for a bee-friendly yard:

  • Eliminate the use of pesticides when plants are flowering
  • Plant a diversity of nectar- and pollen-rich plants (10 or more species)
  • Mass each plant in patches 1 square meter or larger
  • Choose plants that bloom in succession over the seasons
  • Avoid excessive manicuring


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